Tuesday, June 24, 2008


D.C. Circuit Court says "No" to Scotts and Monsanto on Biotech GrassesRuling is Latest in a String of Victories in Which the Center for Food Safety Successfully Challenged Inadequate Oversight of Biotech Crops

A Federal Court of Appeals has tossed out the appeal of Scotts Grass Company, ending a long-running dispute over the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) approval of the open-air field testing of genetically engineered "Round-up Ready" (GE) grasses without assessing any potential environmental impacts. The GE grasses are owned by Scotts Grass Company using patents owned by Monsanto.

In 2007 a federal district court ruled that the USDA's approvals of the tests were illegal because they did not comply with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). USDA declined to appeal the decision and instead instituted new NEPA policies for any future field tests. The court also ruled that USDA had to re-assess whether the GE grasses were "noxious weeds" under the Plant Protection Act. Scotts intervened in the case before the lower court's ruling. Scotts then appealed the decision, challenging the plaintiffs' ability to bring the case and the lower court's decision. In March the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit granted the plaintiffs' motion and dismissed the case.

Beyond the significant potential environmental risks of genetically engineered crops, the case is also a strong legal precedent limiting corporate intervenor-defendants' ability to continue legal challenges to government action without the government's involvement.

FDA’s Internal Report Reveals that Consumers Don’t Want Food from ClonesZero Percent of Parents Surveyed Would Feed Food from Clones to their Children

Made Available under a Freedom of Information Act Request and jointly released by the Center for Food Safety, the American Anti-Vivisection Society, Consumers Union, Farm Sanctuary, Food & Water Watch and the Humane Society of the United States, a report commissioned by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) shows that the public does not want food from cloned animals, nor would they feed milk or meat from cloned animals to their children. The report, “Focus Groups on the Public’s Perception on the Health Risk Associated with Products from Animal Clones,” was written by the FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine.

The FDA focus group survey, conducted in 2005, states that “more than half of the participants across the board said that they would not want to eat food derived from clones.” Significantly, the FDA survey found that all those “participants who have children said that they would not give such food to their children.” The opinion survey also found many participants had serious health and ethical concerns about both clones and their offspring.

Despite the results of this focus group report and other reputable surveys showing high consumer concerns and an unwillingness to buy food from cloned animals regardless of FDA approval, in January the FDA issued its risk assessment approving food from cloned animals and their offspring for human consumption without requiring labeling.

California Supreme Court Victory in Farm Raised Salmon CasesCenter for Food Safety, which Filed a Friend of the Court Brief in the Case, Applauds the Decision as Vindicating the Consumers' Right to Know

The Supreme Court of the State of California in February issued a decision in the Farm Raised Salmon Cases, overturning a California Court of Appeal ruling. California citizens sued various grocery stores alleging the stores violated California's Sherman Law labeling requirements by selling artificially colored farmed salmon without labeling it as "color added" as required by law.
The suit focused on two chemical dyes applied to farmed salmon sold in supermarkets (without the pink dyes, the farmed fish would have appeared grey in color). The artificial dyes, canthaxanthin and astaxanthin, pose significant health risks. These dyes have been linked to several human health problems, including impaired vision and retinal damage, cancer, and hyperactivity in young children.

The suits - filed against several California grocery chains – were initially dismissed by the California Court of Appeal, which ruled that federal labeling law preempts citizen enforcement of equivalent California state laws aimed at protecting human health and safety. The California Supreme Court's ruling concluded that the lower courts erred in taking away the citizens' right to enforce California's crucial food safety law.

New Study Concludes GM Crops Increase Pesticide Use, Fail to Alleviate Poverty and Have Not Reduced World Hunger

Genetically modified (GM) crops have led to a large increase in pesticide use and have failed to increase yield or tackle world hunger and poverty, revealed a new report by Friends of the Earth and Center for Food Safety. The report coincided with the annual release of biotech industry figures on GM crop cultivation around the world.

"The biotech industry tells Africans that we need GM crops to tackle the food needs of our population. But the majority of GM crops are used to feed animals in rich countries, to produce damaging agrofuels, and don't even yield more than conventional crops," said Nnimmo Bassey, Friends of the Earth International's GMO coordinator in Nigeria.

"For years, the biotech industry has been trumpeting the benefits of GM crops, but this report shows the true emerging picture," added Andrew Kimbrell, Executive Director of the Center for Food Safety. "These crops really promote greater use of pesticides, and cause direct harm to the environment and small farmers. More and more, foundations and international aid and development organizations are recognizing the dead end that GM crops represent."
The report, "Who Benefits from GM Crops?: The Rise in Pesticide Use," found thatGM crops do not tackle hunger or poverty; GM crops increase pesticide use and foster spread of resistant "superweeds;" Overall, GM crops do not yield more and often yield less than other crops; and that GM crops benefit the biotech industry and some large growers, not small farmers. Download the report at www.centerforfoodsafety.org.

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